Hairdressing, Serious Games and Learning

May 22nd, 2008 by Graham Attwell

At a session at the Scil conference on serious games. Hope it is not too serious.

First up is Frederic Aunis on hairdressing. He works for L’Oriel. Kids end up doing hairdressing because they do not know what else to do or have failed at school. Hairdressers, he says, all over the world learn by doing. they need techncial and artistic skills, life and communication skills and a business understanding. But in schools business skills are not taught. Managers train apprentices in technical skills but not business skills.

Frederick has been developing a business game. His organisation is developing programmes for 20 million students (seems unlikely?). The game is called Hair Be12. It is translated into 13 languages and implemented in 10 countries. Now we get a demo. Choose a character and customise it. Then twelve episodes to the game. The first is on customer relations. A series of multiple choice questions. Then according to answers skills levels indicator moves up and down and turnover for business changes. No correct answers in game says Frederick. It’s like in real life. No-one complains but your turnover is hit. And there are bonus games. design your salon etc. At end get classification on the web based game – compared to others.

interesting that it did not really work as an individual self-learning game but took off when it was used in groups – it created, he says, “a wow effect.” And it has gone on to be used for facilitating meetings and organisational development within hair salons.

The topics have been ‘flattened’ to ensure game is applicable in different cultures.

Hm – not bad – looks quite fun, teaches something hard to learn any other way. At least it feels like a game. Maybe a bit limited in scope though. Big plus – he says it was relatively cheap to develop. My rating – cool. And a great presentation.

Contact url seems to be www.hair-be12.com – definitely worth a look.

Has business changed?

May 22nd, 2008 by Graham Attwell

I am blogging ‘live’ from the Scil conference at St Gallen. Quite interesting in that the conference is very much geared at the HRD and business world – ‘communities’ I do not venture too far into often. The conference is entitled “The Changing Face of Learning – getting the right balance.” So is learning changing in the business world?

The first speaker up is Erlan Joergensen from Shell. I can’t say much sounds new. His slogan is Ask-Learn-Share. He is very much at pains to say that all learning has to be related to the needs of the business. This seems a step back to me. What he is saying that is new is to integrate – on a business basis – the informal and workplace learning together with formal learning within “global networks”. All courses will have a workplace component.

Certainly Shell do seem to using networking tools – wikis and bookmarks – and have embraced the idea that global networks can link tacit and explicit knowledge through peer assisted problem solving. The wiki, he says, provides the ‘business operational knowledge’ for the whole company. Interesting too, that he calls it “a wikipedia”! Shell are also looking at the use of Second Life.

The wikis are being used to develop communities on different topics with 27000 active users and 2500 new entries in the last month.

OK – time to make my mind up – what do I think? Certainly bringing access to knowledge sharing tools looks impressive. It is not quite clear how such tools and activities are being integrated into the blended courses. That there is a new focus on work based learning – and that supervisors are seen as important in this is not new but does represent a shift of emphasis. However, the relation between individual learning and organisational learning seems unclear. And there are still too many business buzz words for my liking.

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